Why 650c wheels?

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uncle arthur
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Why 650c wheels?

Postby uncle arthur » Thu Nov 13, 2008 4:37 pm

I have to wonder why did the industry implement 650c, only for 700c to become apparently the standard?
What is it with cycling? 30+ kmh and lycra???!!!

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Postby r2160 » Thu Nov 13, 2008 4:56 pm


I actually thought that 650c was mainly for kids. Gets them a little closer to the ground and easier for the young'ins to turn

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Postby wintal » Thu Nov 13, 2008 5:08 pm

r2160: 650c is used on some small adult bikes to cut out the toe overlap with the front wheel.

My reading of the original question seems to be asking why 650c has been superceded by 700c as the dominant standard. I don't know, but if I had to guess i'd say they're either faster, or that it's simple aesthetics ;)


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Postby rustychisel » Thu Nov 13, 2008 5:10 pm

rotational mass and contact spot with the road is the correct answer... both reckoned to be good things in the wacky experimental 80s (think Scott monster tri bars, fluorescent paintjobs & sunglasses, biopace chainrings and a host of other silliness).

The triathlete people decided that a smaller wheel gave slightly less mass, and slightly better handling, and lighter rotational mass, for a proportionately bigger tyre contact patch on the road, thus designed a number of bikes for this 'new standard' - see Kestrel bikes for eg.

In the real world, when people saw what !! BAN ME NOW FOR SWEARING !! bike handlers triathletes can be the concept was as dead as the dodo. They're still used, but only by backward thinking swamp jockeys (triathletes) and for very very small frame sizes... I know one woman who is under 5ft in the old money and they've been a godsend for her, even though tyres are quite hard to come by.

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Postby rustychisel » Thu Nov 13, 2008 5:12 pm

oh and 700c was around well before 650c, in the mid 80s it had well superceded the 27inch wheel. 700c is the European standard.

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